South Africa News

EFF want secret ballot for motion of no confidence against Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula

National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula is expected to face her first motion of no confidence next month.

The motion, submitted by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), against Mapisa-Nqakula is being considered by deputy speaker, Lechesa Tsenoli.

The EFF wants the National Assembly to remove Mapisa-Nqakula from her position after the party’s MPs were forcibly removed from the Cape Town City Hall chamber during President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) on 9 February.

The Speaker asked the police and parliamentary protection services (PPS) officers to get rid of the EFF MPs after they disrupted proceedings.

Secret ballot

Members of the National Assembly Programming Committee heard on Thursday that the EFF’s motion will be debated and voted on in two weeks’ time.

“The deputy speaker has considered the matter and we are suggesting, because it’s a draft report that needs to be approved by this body, that let it be scheduled for the 7th of March,” National Assembly programming whip and ANC MP Mina Lesoma told the committee.

EFF MP Natasha Ntlangwini called for the motion to be voted via a secret ballot.

“I strongly feel we should have a secret ballot because of past victimization of members of parliament when they are not voting according to what they are forced to by the so-called party line,” she said.

Ntlangwini also asked for the motion to be debated physically at the Cape Town City Hall.

In her response, Mapisa-Nqakula said it was at Tsenoli’s disposal to make a decision on both matters.

“I will not be able to respond to that. It is the deputy speaker who has been written to and the deputy speaker will handle the matter as whether it is a secret ballot or a fully physical sitting.”

EFF leader Julius Malema previously threatened legal action against Mapisa-Nqakula if she failed to apologise within 48 hours for ejecting EFF MPs from the Sona, but later withdrew this.

‘Animals’

Last week, Malema accused Mapisa-Nqakula of disregarding the Constitution by trying to suppress the EFF MPs’ right to freedom of speech.

The EFF leader argued that it was the responsibility of the Speaker to make sure that MPs exercised their oversight over the executive without any fear or intimidation.

“The police must never be allowed inside the chamber because that is where the executive is held accountable and those who are in power, if they do not have answers, may be tempted to use the security forces to intimidate those who are holding them accountable,” he said during the Sona debate on 14 February.

He also lamented Mapisa-Nqakula’s comment in which she referred to EFF MPs as “animals”.

Parliament has, however, disputed this.

According to Parliament’s spokesperson Moloto Mathopo, Mapisa-Nqakula had referred the EFF’s disruptions during the Sona to the Joint Rules Committee.

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